On Monday, Jan. 9, 2024, Army Futures Command observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day during a ceremony in Austin, Texas.
On Monday, Jan. 9, 2024, Army Futures Command observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day during a ceremony in Austin, Texas. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday and National Day of Service that will take place on Jan. 15, 2024, in remembrance of civil rights champion Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick Hunter, Army Futures Command) VIEW ORIGINAL

AUSTIN, Texas — Army Futures Command (AFC) hosted a special program in Austin to recognize the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the commitment to public service it r­­­epresents, on Monday at the AFC storefront.

Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day is a national holiday observed annually on the third Monday in January. The holiday honors an American civil rights leader and trailblazer, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who dedicated his life to a dream of equality and challenged the nation to judge people not “by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

The day’s theme, “A Day On, Not a Day Off,” encourages individuals to perform acts of community service in remembrance of Dr. King’s legacy and to instill his principles of unity and equity throughout the world.

AFC’s celebration of MLK Day focused on the importance of public service and the ripple effects of generosity and kindness.

AFC Acquisition, Personnel and Ethics Chief and Staff Judge Advocate Ronald Sullivan served as the event’s keynote speaker, providing insight into Dr. King’s legacy and urging attendees to make service to others a commitment throughout the coming year, not just on Jan.15.

“There are people in need, and, teammates, the opportunities to serve abound,” Sullivan said. He said that service to others can take place in many forms, including by serving in the armed forces, becoming involved in community or faith-based efforts or mentoring youth. Being a helpful neighbor, giving away extra items to those in need or finding additional ways to donate time, money or goods can all help contribute to a greater good, he explained.

“Ultimately, my goal is to spark, invigorate and stir up all the service-to-others-minded people who are listening … I want you to keep it up and never quit; I want you to stay true to that commitment to serve others,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan also asked audience members to contemplate powerful words spoken by Dr. King during a sermon he gave the year he was assassinated – words Dr. King had drawn from “If I Can Help Somebody,” a gospel song written by Alma Androzzo:

“If I can help somebody as I pass along,

If I can cheer somebody with a word or a song,

If I can show somebody he’s traveling wrong,

Then my living will not be in vain.”

Department of the Army Civilian Ronald Sullivan speaks to the importance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the lessons of Dr. King during an Army Futures Command observance event in Austin, Texas.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Department of the Army Civilian Ronald Sullivan speaks to the importance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the lessons of Dr. King during an Army Futures Command observance event in Austin, Texas, Jan. 8, 2024. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick Hunter, Army Futures Command) VIEW ORIGINAL
Department of the Army Civilian Joycelyn Taylor recites an excerpt from Coretta Scott King’s autobiography during the Army Futures Command Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance in Austin, Texas.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Department of the Army Civilian Joycelyn Taylor recites an excerpt from Coretta Scott King’s autobiography during the Army Futures Command Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance in Austin, Texas, Jan. 8, 2024. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick Hunter, Army Futures Command) VIEW ORIGINAL

Sullivan’s speech was followed by a reading. Joycelyn Taylor, executive assistant for AFC’s Directorate of Integration, recited an excerpt about red carnations and enduring love from “My Life, My Love, My Legacy,” the autobiography of Coretta Scott King, Dr. King’s wife.

Following her recitation, the command played “A Change is Gonna Come,” a song by Sam Cookie that was accompanied by a music video highlighting historical movements for equality and social change.

To conclude the ceremony, AFC Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Edmond “Miles” Brown underscored how critical it is to exhibit the courage to stand up for others and what is right, as Dr. King did.

“Sometimes we forget what courage really is,” Brown said.

“We think about courage in a physical sense, but there are two types of courage, and the benchmark of a true hero is moral courage.”

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The Army is committed to the ideals of Dr. King and honors his dedication to equity and inclusion on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a National Day of Service. 

Click to here to access Department of Defense educational resources on MLK Day.